Today is the day.....
The day cancer infected the lives of my children.....
The day their worlds were never the same....
The day their childhood innocence was stolen from them....
The day they realized their parents were not made of superhero material.....
The day they became different from all their friends....
The day they had to start providing explanations to their father's whereabouts....
The day our lives started moving in slow motion.
I wrote about this last year - and I need to write about it again this year but from the perspective of my children. (See The Day My World Began Moving in Slow Motion)
August 6, 2004 - at about this time - 6 pm-ish.....the boys and I were playing with Rachel (just shy of her first birthday) and cheering her on as she took her first steps.
I recall the boys excitement and we couldn't wait for Brian to come home from work so we could share this milestone with him.
Suddenly, the phone rang. The boys were getting somewhat distracted as a 6 and 9 year old tend to do....but as soon as they recognized that I was on the phone with their father, they became quite interested again.
But, I'm sure they could sense something wasn't quite right......just as I sensed something wasn't quite right as soon as I heard Brian's voice.
I will never forget that feeling when I heard Brian's voice....the concern, the nervousness, the unknown. For those of you that knew Brian, you know that he was never nervous....never scared. He may have had the ability to worry for no reason about things but he was always in charge; always in control. This was not the Brian I had weathered ups and downs with. Something wasn't right.
And at that moment, the world around me slowed down.....for all of us.....
And I'm sure if my children could remember all the details at the time, they could see the change in my voice and my demeanor.
Brian was admitted to the hospital at 6 pm-ish on August 6, 2004.
And he would never step out of the hospital again.
Cancer had entered our lives - and would take his life within a short 2 week span. A time period that was filled with unknown, despair, some laughter but mostly sadness.
And the most difficult part of it all?
Sure, it was difficult for him and I to grasp the idea that our "to death do you part" was coming much sooner than we had ever anticipated.
No, the most difficult part was looking into the eyes of our children and explaining to them what was happening. Our older one understood immediately and ran off full of anger and grief.
Our younger son didn't understand.....didn't really grasp what we were sharing with him.
A few days prior to Brian's passing, Nolan and I were walking through the hospital and he looked up at me. "Mom, Dad is never coming home again, is he." What a awful statement for a 6 year old to have to think about, let alone have to speak.
Brian never had the opportunity to witness his beautiful daughter take a step....he was never able to hold her again.
This is why I run/ride ridiculous events while juggling a full-time job and raising three children alone. This is why I ask all of you to support my efforts for LIVESTRONG. This is why I get up at crazy hours to squeeze in a ride or run. To KICK CANCER'S ASS!
August is always a reminder to me of how much I hate cancer - don't we all? Don't we all have stories of how cancer has impacted our lives?
The next two weeks are much easier each year but still go in slow motion for me at times as memories come flowing back. Thankfully it is easier - and thankfully I am able to "celebrate" life the day after Brian's passing with Rachel's birthday.
I know many of you think I may be crazy (and yes, I think so as well quite often) but it is my goal to make sure other kids and parents don't have to have an August moment like the Simmons family did.
Thank you for your emotional support.....and your financial support to my fundraising efforts all these years!
If you'd like to help LIVESTRONG help other's survive cancer with FREE services, please consider making a donation at Barbara's Chicago Marathon Fundraising page to Benefit LIVESTRONG